From behind the seams to behind the scenes, read an excerpt of this month’s MEGA Man cover star Gino Roque and why he is the man to watch.
His successful apparel-turned-events business Forza and flourishing career in the entertainment industry are ventures he actively pursued. One could even sayhe’s been working on them since he was a young boy of eight, selling Yu-Gi-Oh cards to his classmates as a precursor to bigger things.
Among his many jobs at his parents’ retail business— a homegrown brand called Kamiseta, you may have heard of it — was as a tagger. From tagging, he went on to packing, sewing, and eventually, became a salesman. Just when he thought he’d reached his final form, the bright lights of show business started calling out to him. Now we’re here and Gino’s still evolving.
We hear about this all the time: stories of heirs and heiresses earning their keep at dingy factories and working their way up. Rarely does it feel authentic, and this is one of those rare times.
BECOMING ‘BOSS GINO’
The son of businessman Gonzalo Roque III, Gino has entrepreneurship in his DNA. “Ever since I was a kid, I was surrounded by business. I was subconsciously groomed to be an entrepreneur in every possible way,” the young business owner says. After doing his stint at one of their family’s factories, Gino moved on to join their direct-selling business, where he sold products to school staff. At an early age, he was trained to be enterprising and just social enough to be an effective salesman, and it was this training that prepared him for his own business, Forza.
With clothing as his family’s bread and butter, Forza was originally an athletic apparel brand. “Then, we ventured into events: Forza Underground, under which we held MMA [events], and [then there’s] Forza Obstacle Run. I did so many competitive sports growing up. I did tennis, bodybuilding, and CrossFit. I competed at the ASEAN university games for water polo. Doing something to make athletes happy was just something I wanted to do.”
Forza was doing quite well when Gino joined Pinoy Big Brother in 2019. “Our first Obstacle Run was straight out of Pinoy Big Brother. I did it right away because I wanted to give the fans, who are for some reason excited to see me, an amazing experience as well,” he shares.
Creating Forza was Gino’s way of carving his own path. “Growing up with parents who are the owners of Kamiseta, Kamiseta Skin, hotels and restaurants… it comes with certain pressures
Call it a pivot or, as Gino explains, an expansion, Forza eventually went into production. “Before the pandemic, honestly I felt like everything was growing on pace. Then we had to pivot and now, we’re producing teleseryes.” Now on his second production, Gino is currently filming Pasabuy, a film that he stars in with Heaven Peralejo. It comes out on September 24, on WeTV and Iflix, and is directed by Xian Lim.”
Photography KIERAN PUNAY of STUDIO100
Creative direction NICOLE ALMERO
Grooming CATS DEL ROSARIO
Styling FRANCIS CHEE of STYLEITPH assisted by JEREMIAH ORIBE
Shoot Coordination MAE TALAID and MJ ALMERO